Skin purging and why it happens
It is not unusual for the skin to break out with the odd pimple here and there after having a treatment. This includes procedures that exfoliate the skin, peels, Morpheus RF Microneedling and lasers. Even introducing new skin care products with different ingredients such as retinoids or acids can cause skin to pimple. The technical term is purging and it is a perfectly normal reaction.
Does it have something to do with your treatment? Yes, introducing a new regime changes the rate at which the skin cells turn over. That means if they were used to renewing at a slow rate, performing treatments that help with anti aging, will speed up that rate. They also irritate the skin, disrupting how fast it does things. Think of it like a kick up the backside! The skin actually needs to speed up to renew itself and remove the damaged cells that were making your skin look dull, lined and pigmented. Usually skin cells renew every 28 days this time gets longer as we get older, but with treatments the renewal is much faster.
What also happens is that as the top layers are removed, what was lurking underneath comes up to the surface and is exposed, that includes pimples and acne that was waiting deep down. That pimple will now be on show. When I do treatments I am actually hoping for the deeper gunk to come up and be removed. Not all of it comes out and the pores begin to clean what is left out a few days later, hence breakouts. Expect to see anything from whiteheads, blackheads to cysts and pustules.
So how do you know if it is a break out or a purge?
When you get acne it is sometimes because the debris in clogged pores leads to bacteria known as P. acnes. The body sends white blood cells to the site of the bacteria to get rid of it causing it to get red and inflamed or filled with pus. When a skin treatment is performed it won’t push bacteria up and out of the skin as an acne pimple.
So how can you tell which is a normal breakout? Firstly the length of time of the breakout is important, as a purge pimple arrives fast and heals fast. Purging also happens in places where you might usually get regular breakout pimples, and not in new places. If you have used retinoids and acids then it is very likely you are purging because they cause chemical exfoliation. If you have been using a new beauty product that clogs pores and not a chemical exfoliator then it is probably a breakout not a purge. So what do you do when you purge? Nothing. Wait until the skin has healed from the procedure, then all the issues will go away.